What Is Theater Style Seating?

by Terri H. Weisser; Updated September 26, 2017
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Whether you are setting up a business presentation, training classroom or a home theater system, the arrangement of the seating can make all the difference. There are many factors to consider when deciding on a room layout and many times theater style seating is the first choice.

Theater Style Seating

Theater style seating is an arrangement of chairs in rows or arcs that all face the same point in the room. There are no tables or desks used in theater style seating. Some people may also call this cinema style seating.

Things to Keep in Mind

When setting up a theater style seating arrangement, there are a few factors to consider. You should consider where the presenter will be during the presentation. This will help to determine the sight lines and aid in placement of the first seat–the seat furthest to the left when standing in the audience.

Benefits to Theater Style Seating

Many seasoned training professionals believe the theater style seating arrangement has some key benefits over other seating arrangements. First, it discourages talking between audience members. Second, all audience members can see the presentation screen easily. Lastly, the presenter can easily see and address all members of the audience.

Other Arrangement Options

In addition to theater style seating, there are other arrangement options that may make sense to you depending on your situation. Classroom style seating, debate style, horseshoe or U-shaped arrangement are all other options.

Decision Points

When making your decision on seating arrangement, think about these issues. Make sure all audience members are able to to see the presentation screen and the presenter is able to see each audience member easily. The room arrangement should allow for extra personal items such as briefcases, laptop bags or backpacks.

About the Author

Terri Weisser has been writing training and educational content since 1996. She has prepared materials for companies such as Walmart, Tribute Software, MetalSite, Relizon and Warehouse Specialists. Weisser holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of Akron.

Photo Credits

  • Im Theater image by Alexander Tarasov from Fotolia.com